Are you willing to pay the price of what you want? This is one of the many questions prompted by our moderator yesterday as we went along our annual workshop. He emphasized that we have stop enumerating the things that we want in life – as if the world is a giant wish-granting machine; instead, we have to focus on the pain that we are willing to take in order to acquire what we so dearly want to have. Common wishes and prayers would center on good health, greater income, healing in the family and many others that would focus on self-sufficing needs. But how much are we willing to give in order to achieve this? We want good health but we eat too much junk, drink too much junk, and live a life full of junk. We want better relationship with people around us, but we spend our time debating over the fake news and memes on social media. Really, what are we up to?
This morning, after several months of hiatus and marathoning kdramas, I went for a hike again. The initial plan was to join the preclimb of my friends who are preparing for their major climb this coming November, but I woke up late. For someone who has fallen deeply in love with staying at home on weekends, it took a lot of willpower to fix my bed and get ready for the hike. It would have been easier to ditch the plan and continue sleeping then spend the rest of the day playing Mobile Legends, but I was reminded of my goal for the upcoming month, so of I went.
There was no one else in the meetup area when I arrived so I went to the habal-habal terminal to get a ride going to the jumpoff area. I couldn’t help but smile as I tracked on the familiar bridge that leads to a direct ascent as I began the hike. How I miss such place. It dawned to me that it was almost six months since I last stepped on Babag trails – this was during the practice climb we had in preparation for Baloy. I happily went on and hoped I could still catch up with the group. Along the way I have met some locals who inquired why I was alone and some other group of hikers who thought I was just doing some rounds of trailrunning (heck, as if). After almost two hours of trekking alone, I finally saw the group and reunited with them. I couldn’t be any happier at that moment after experiencing everything. Or so I thought.
While we were trailing, we met a woman who was bringing with her a bag full of mangoes. She was asking if somebody would want to buy her mangoes instead of bringing them to the market for she badly needed an amount of money for the hospitalization of her daughter who was diagnosed with dengue and her mom who was currently ill as well. The first thing that caught me was the mangoes – my mom’s favorite. Second, was the word dengue. For almost two weeks now, a colleague has been absent because of it. I didn’t know what got me at that time, but right then and there I found myself carrying three kilos of mangoes on going to the summit. Fck, me and my impulsive self. Except from my belt bag and water bottle, I wasn’t bringing anything (thanks to lightpacking fascination) so I had to strain my arms in bringing such baggage. And instead of trailing behind the lead pack, there I was alone at the tail with the mangoes. Seriously, how many times do I have to mention mangoes in this paragraph?! HAHA. Kidding.
Ironically, instead of regretting such impulsive decision, I found myself carrying on with the journey. Yes, it was heavy, but whenever I think about the emotional weight brought by people on their everyday struggle – the construction workers who were with me inside the jeepney in going to the meetup area, the old puto vendor roaming around Bocaue and Pamutan under the stinging rays of the sun, the old man living alone on his hut whom we caroled last year, a former classmate who spent all her free time studying the cases of the Philippines, the woman selling the mangoes, my parents, and all those who do their best to alleviate the status of the family – I felt so little with my baggage.
My mother was so happy with the mangoes I brought home. And in turn, it brought gentle warmth in me. So, this was what I struggled for. This was an example of the pain I am willing to take. Though some are doubting the reality of the story of the woman, I’d like to believe that whatever she’s doing is for the best for her family. It was the pain she was willing to take. We have different dreams in life but as long as we settle on our comfort zone, these would forever remain in our sleep. Remember as well that at times there are people who are willing to share the pain you are taking – like Shiela and Maria who volunteered to help in bringing the mangoes to Pamutan. Surely, everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about; but if the price of the pain is worth it… why not?